The Mighty Logo

Why You Shouldn’t Tell Young Women They'll Understand When They're a Mother

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Dear Mothers,

Please stop telling young women they’ll understand when they’re a mother. I ask you this not for the sake of the women who may not want to be mothers, but rather for the women who cannot. Sadly, many women who desperately want to have children naturally will never be able to.

When I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), my world was shattered. While there is no way to tell if I’ll be able to have children naturally until I try, the high likelihood I will have trouble is devastating.

This diagnosis brings with it many new understandings. I understand the cause of many of the symptoms I have struggled with from a young age. I understand I am at risk for associated illnesses that most women my age don’t worry about. I understand I may not be able to have children in the way I always imagined.

While all these realizations are impactful, the possibility of not being a mother is the most devastating. I now cry at movies where women give birth, I cry when women lose children and I cry at pretty much everything that involves a mother-child relationship. More than that, I cry when a mother tells me I will understand what they experience one day. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. The feelings I have when I think I won’t be able to be a mother overwhelm any hope that I will.

So mothers, please stop telling young women they’ll understand one day when they’re mothers because you don’t know. You don’t know if you’re speaking to a woman who knows she will have issues. You don’t know if you’re speaking to a woman who will experience complications but doesn’t know it yet. Please stop taking for granted that all women will be blessed the way you have been.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

Originally published: January 4, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home